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Friday, December 26, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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I know you're tired
of Christmas, but I just found this article on Nonduality and
Christmas from the Times of India, which I think you'll find
"In our anxiety, we tend to take refuge is silence, but it is a silence that is burdensome, enforced by circumstances, a silence born of despair, of a sense of powerlessness, of our inability to change the situation. It is also the silence of the eccentric, the naive, the gullible, the exploited, and those of us who live at the margins."
A wonderful silence, free of all burdens
The celebration of Christmas is a celebration of God's Presence. It is meant to herald the advent of inner peace and stillness.
Though we celebrate this event by the singing of Silent Night and other traditional carols that speak of peace, stillness and tranquillity, our present world is defined by signs to the contrary. Christmas becomes an annual ritual, a kind of comic relief, giving us the much needed break we need.
Even as we put on a happy face, we might often feel empty. We just want to put behind us, to blot out from memory the unpleasantness, the hurt, the anger, and get on with life, hoping that things will change eventually.
In our anxiety, we tend to take refuge is silence, but it is a silence that is burdensome, enforced by circumstances, a silence born of despair, of a sense of powerlessness, of our inability to change the situation. It is also the silence of the eccentric, the naive, the gullible, the exploited, and those of us who live at the margins. Nevertheless, it enables us to get on with life, allowing us to keep our daily routines, while our energies are steadily depleted by underlying fear.
Silence is often mistaken for resilience. There are some who are silent because they have long since understood that words lose their meaning when they become endless chatter. They have experienced first hand that words, whether written or spoken, are often meant to conceal more than they reveal. And even when there is a genuine attempt to reveal what we experience deeply, we find words inadequate.
We are often misunderstood and misquoted and our intentions twisted out of context. For the sensitive, silence is a defence mechanism, aimed at damage control. We might be misunderstood but never misquoted.
A silence that is imposed by external conditions is unproductive, because it is rooted in the experience of ourselves as non-being. It is the very antithesis of presence. It masks the inner turmoil, the noises within us that clamour for attention, giving us a false sense of security.
The other is seen as a threat to our existence. It is one ego battling for survival against another at every level of our personal and social life. It is a recipe for internal and external war and violence of varying intensity.
The inner Silence that Christmas promises is not a commodity that we can seek to possess. Possession supposes separateness.
We want what we do not have. Possessiveness presupposes a dualistic world, in which we can at most have working relationships but never an enduring peace. Presence on the other hand is rooted in non-duality. It is the experience of the dissolution of the self into the larger Self which enfolds us. This 'kenosis' - emptying of self - that makes Christmas a sacrament. It is not only a sign that God is with us, but even more an expression of the reality that we are one with God and as a result One with each other.
Christmas is a journey to our centre where we experience God with us, God within us. The daily practice of meditation is seen as re-enactment of this event within us. It dispels the anxiety of our ontic obscuration by rooting us in "Being" itself. It disposes us to 'receive' the gift of true inner silence. We make a paradigm shift from relationship to union. This is the harbinger of a peace, rooted in non-violence because it is grounded in non-possessiveness. It is the silence that brings inner security and with it the dawn of the kingdom of peace and justice, truth and love.
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